Broker Check

Help! My W-2 is Incorrect!

Howard Hook, CFP, CPA quoted in NJMoneyHelp on February 26, 2015

The Question: My company sent me a W-2 but I’m sure it’s wrong by more than $10,000. They say it’s correct. What can I do?

The Answer: You’re smart not to ignore it.

Any time an employer and an employee report different information to the Internal Revenue Service, it can be messy.

You should start by approaching your company again and asking it to issue a corrected W-2, said Howard Hook, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with EKS Associates in Princeton.

“If they disagree with you, then you need to contact the IRS and tell them that you think you received an incorrect W-2 and your employer is not willing to give you a corrected one,” Hook said.

You may call the IRS toll free at 800-829-1040 or visit an IRS taxpayer assistance center in person.

After you notify the IRS, it will send your employer a letter requesting that it gives you a corrected W-2 within 10 days, said Michael Maye.

“The letter advises your employer of their responsibilities to provide a correct Form W-2 and of the penalties for failure to do so,” he said. “The IRS will send you a letter with instructions and Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement”

Maye said you can use the Form 4852 in the event that your employer does not provide you with the corrected W-2 in time to file your tax return.

Depending on the time of year, the IRS may have federal wage information in the form of a wage transcript.

Before you call or visit the IRS, Maye said, you need to have the following information:

  • Your employer’s name and complete address including zip code, employer identification number if known (you can find this on your prior year’s W-2 if you worked for the same employer) and telephone number
  • Your name and address including zip code, your Social Security number and telephone number
  • An estimate of the wages you earned, federal income tax withheld, and the period you worked for that employer. You should base the estimate on year-to-date information from your final pay stub or a leave-and -earnings statement, if possible.